Shame and Belonging

Sure, when the discussion at work devolved into a discussion of personality, my kid could have gotten distracted with feelings of inadequacy, shame or most likely resentment when told by the vendor that “I have never connected with you interpersonally.”  But this is counter to radical sacred belonging.  My kid had to dig deep and decide what was at stake.  Was their value at stake?  No.  Was this vendor’s livelihood at stake?  Yes.  Far better, one could even make a case that it is far more sacred, to not get distracted with petty insecurities to the detriment of helping another person keep their job.  In this way, whether or not these two ever “connect interpersonally”, my child has lived out of BEING by valuing compassion for another and considering the vendor’s need (she needed to know that her job was at risk due to poor performance AND learn what she could do to save her position) over any light and momentary freak out about interpersonal connection.  

In my case, I had to accept that my belonging in my family from my father’s perspective was contingent upon me denying my own conclusions about where I was most needed during a family crisis in deference of his preference.  This violates the core meaning of belonging.  What would happen if I chased after the approval of my dad at the expense of my own conscience?  I would then violate my own value of being a woman with a strong back and a soft heart.  This I cannot do.  And if I had - then that would have been on me.  

Listen up, this is very important:  I have on many, many, many occasions violated my own sense of right in a vain attempt to chase after the acceptance of others.  Oh the stories I could tell about my abandonment of core values in order to win over another person.  Hot shame courses through me as I think of times when I abdicated my own sense of goodness, rightness or fair play in order to feel the approval of another. I acknowledge the constant pull in both small and large ways to chase this high of perceived acceptance.  There are no guarantees that I can remain self-aware enough to consistently maintain a strong back and tender front approach to life.  

But here’s the thing.  It does not deliver.  It’s a sham.  Better that we lose belonging in some situations shooting for authentic expressions of who we BE then falling into the pit of shame when we realize that even our best efforts to chameleon ourselves into the good graces of others doesn’t produce true belonging.  In my opinion. ( But you should listen because I have a ton of experience with losing for all the wrong reasons!)

Maybe tomorrow we will talk about what I learned during one of my most shaming interactions EVER